Tomorrow the article I was interviewed about transgender students at Michigan is going to press.  I never imagined I would agree to interview for the Michigan Daily, but I’m not the kind of guy to burn any bridges — especially where others are hastily building bridges to meet me.  I have been involved in the editing process, so I know what’s going to press, and it’s not bad.  I can’t expect the Daily to publish my book about gender for me, so of course it’s not as intricately complex as it would be if we had unlimited space and unlimited time.  It is a step in the right direction.

I think that generally we could use more of this ethic in the community.  Most of the reactions I got when I told people I’d been interviewed were, “Oh god, what?”  And even today, during our photo session, there were some derisive looks and comments made about the Daily.  It’s easy to dismiss the paper (it’s not like they have a stellar track record) but it’s also a matter of who’s working when.  The reporter who interviewed me is new blood at the paper, and I think that bodes well for its future.  There isn’t anything malicious about the Daily’s occasional poor editorial choices and general cluelessness.  They’re not going to get better unless concerned members of the campus community encourage them to get better.  And help them to get better.  I’m tired of hearing this groaning every time this comes up.  I’ve been slighted more than the average bear by the Daily, but all I’m saying is let’s give the younger reporters another go.

To tell you the truth, I’m not worried about the Michigan Daily.  I’m worried about the rest of campus.  I started second-guessing myself sometime last week, and basically what I’ve concluded amounts to this: I’m sticking my neck out.  Way the fuck out.  Not just in terms of even agreeing to be part of this article, but also agreeing to be outed to such a wide audience, and also willing to be judged for being a part of this project at all.

I haven’t had good experiences lately with transphobia on this campus.  I realize that I may have just put myself in harm’s way — and I’m not sure that the Daily recognizes that.  I am not too worried, though, because I know that by changing my behavior I can reduce my risk.  I just think it’s important that both the paper and I are conscientious of the fact that I have taken a risk.

Also, I hadn’t exactly counted on this being part of the fallout of this project, but the skepticism from the community has been surprising.  Maybe I think too much about the things that make me look anything other than highly principled, but I don’t see this as selling out, because coalition building and meeting people halfway isn’t selling out.  There isn’t much more to it.

We’ll see how this goes, but I want to put it out there that I’ve had a lot of agency in this process, I think this is a step in the right direction, and I’m probably going to be on lockdown for the next few weeks.  That means no walking alone at night further than two blocks, getting rides from people, and probably staying over at others’ houses more often.  I’m bracing for the worst but hoping for the best, and wondering what my reward for this adventure is going to be.

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